The first definition of Freedom given by the Oxford Dictionaries online is “The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint” (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com).
What a great definition! Who likes hindrances or restraints (rules, regulations, people telling us what to do, etc. etc.)? Wouldn’t it be “freeing” to live like that? Sort of a Peter Pan/Lost Boys Neverland experience where anything goes?
- But I’m young! I should be able to do whatever I want while I don’t have any encumbering responsibilities. There’s plenty of time later to follow the constraints of work, family, civic duties.
- But I’m old! I have earned the right to finally do what I please and say whatever is on my mind---the things I have wanted to say to others for years.
- Look, you do your thing and I’ll do mine and we’ll just respect each other’s rights to our own freedoms—of speech, actions, thoughts, whatever.
These approaches work as long as my actions don’t tread on your property, your personal space or your worldview. And if they do…well then I have a problem with your freedoms.
Truth is…this definition of freedom doesn’t work, regardless of how seductive it sounds. Why even pose it as a possibility? Remember physics class and Newton’s Third Law of Motion? For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Our earthly freedoms are important to us and rightfully so, as they have been hard fought for and won by great losses. But in truth, no earthy freedom is a sure thing and could disappear in a wink. Now, more than ever, our perceived freedoms are treading on someone else’s perceived freedoms and causing reactions that lead to even greater losses of freedom.
This is not true freedom
Maybe we are looking in the wrong place for true freedom.
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36)